Widely enjoyed and equally criticized, dance has been a part of culture dating as far back as humankind, but modern eastern culture has some confused values about this art form. We love it and we love to hate it too. Within this deeply stigmatized artform, where does a brown girl with passion for dance go? Usually, behind closed doors. And this needs to be change.
Hafsah Haq, founder of the recently launched dance studio In-Sync, spoke to Team ProperGaanda about a passion that grew behind closed doors and eventually led to the opening of a space to celebrate and learn the art despite society’s conflicted sentiments attached to it.
In-Sync was a dream borne to fill the gap of a safe and nurturing space for dance that our youth seeks. A self-taught dancer and choreographer, Haq took one for the team and created the space which her peers often asked her to.
Currently, the forms I am offering are Bollywood and Hip-Hop. The courses are for beginners initially and with time, we build them up.
I have dancer and choreographer, Waseem Abbas instructing the mixed/co-ed classes with me for all the courses (Bollywood, Hiphop, Shaadi). I always found his style interesting and he’s as crazy about dance as one could get. It’s his way of life.
That’s a heavy question and one that cannot be answered easily. Dance is my passion. And I don’t say that lightly. I’m obsessed with it. Growing up, dancing in my room and experimenting with styles. I just kept looking at all the dancers in the entertainment world.
Dancing is when I am the most free. I let the music control my body and I’m the happiest when it comes to dance. The one thing that is my essence is dance. Hafsah and dance go hand in hand, everyone knows this. You can’t have one without the other.
I’m expecting to change that very mindset. My aim isn’t to get maximum enrollment or make big money. My aim is to destigmatize dance and all the negativity around it in this society. A revolution starts off small and takes time. It has opposition, it has people that don’t understand it, and it’s risky. But a lot of things that are worth it aren’t easy. I know I will get backlash eventually. My own videos do. But if I focus on that only, nothing will ever work out. Heck, I wouldn’t be here if I focused on the negativity.
Society isn’t a huge fan of dance. My parents initially were not in favor of me pursuing this outside of my room. There were a lot of discussions and arguments over the years. Reservations here and there, mainly because they were worried what other people would say or think. A Pakistani Muslim girl dancing? But I stood firm.
I opened a two-way discussion in the house, asked for the reasoning behind their points against it, and refuted those. They saw I maintained my values while I worked as a choreographer, model and host. Eventually my parents began understanding everything and saw all the results of my hard work, the respect and how I still maintained all our family values.
To create a safe space where dance can flourish. A studio and academy where you can learn forms like ballet, contemporary, salsa, tango, bachata, different forms of hip hop, even kpop and so much more! Make it grow to be something of an entity that is separate from me. A place where individuals who are passionate about dance have a place to go to, to explore and further learn. And those who are just curious or never even had an interest have a place to learn, have fun, and explore this side. In-Sync will be a family. A community. A safe haven.
I was often told growing up that I am “too” ambitious. I call that nonsense. If a girl is practical, has things mapped out, is working towards them effectively, she isn’t “too” ambitious. And even if she is, why is that so negative, right.